2019 Day 7 – Flash!

How did you get on yesterday? Did you write a story?

Remember, set your own rules, and stick to them. If you miss a day, don’t try to catch up. Just keep moving forward!

The Prompt

Write A FLASH FICTION STORY

Chances are, most of the stories you’ve written so far would qualify as Flash Fiction if all we meant was “under 1200 words”.

But Flash is more than that. It is deliberately taut, vivid, and short. It should contain one or two vivid moments or images that stay with the reader long after they’ve gone.

Write your story of 1000 words today, and work on making it flash.

FLASH FICTION FURTHER READING

Steve Almond, Stop

Erin Morgenstern, The Cat and The Fiddle

Ariel Berry, Useless Things

Naomi Kritzer, Paradox

Josh McColough, Meteor

Jennifer Wortman, Theories of the Point of View Shift in AC/DC’s ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’

Rachel Engelman, Joan of Arc Sits Naked In Her Dorm Room

Julie Duffy, The Girl Who Circumnavigated The Earth In An Act of Her Own Making

Go!

Check back every day for more prompts, and don’t forget to come back and leave a comment to celebrate your writing successes, every day!

34 thoughts on “2019 Day 7 – Flash!”

  1. I am submitting my flash fiction entitled “Finding My Alaska” with a word count of 1,000 (+64) words.

    Finding My Alaska

    The Al-Can is a myth. People think that the Al-Can is a highway, you know a highway that takes you from Washington State all the way through Canada. Canada is a big place filled with emptiness unless you like trees, lots of trees and nothing else. Saschachewan is prairie as far as the eye can see. Manitoba is pretty much the same, but then you get into the Northwest Territories when you pass the Arctic Circle and then the solitude sets in. You have no idea of what solitude is until you look into your rearview mirror at sunset and know yours are the only headlights cutting through the twilight.

    In my note to her, I spelled it out clearly, I am finding my Alaska. Now after three days of driving this endless road, two lanes, pavement is optional. It is summer, so crews are out there stopping traffic, when there is any, for an hour at a time holding signs. Dawson City is where I plan to stop if for nothing else, just to clear my head. I passed Yellowknife an hour or so ago and I know I’m getting closer to finding my Alaska. Finding a place where I can breath again, finding a place where you can disappear in the endless wilderness, the Last Frontier, where the beasts outnumber the people. Where I can finally free myself once and for all.

    Pine trees and mountains that disappear into the shorelines of tarns that run for miles along the lonesome highway. Summer here, the sun never sets. I squint at the sun on the horizon. It is ten at night and the sun has been setting for over six hours. Caribou saunter onto the highway, taking no notice of my approach. I honk the horn, but they tacitly stare up at me and finally saunter off of the blacktop after licking the salt used on roads during the winter and I wonder, “Who in their right mind would out here during the winter?” Crazy. You’d have to be crazy to be out here in the winter. There is no radio reception. There is no cell phone reception either.

    Passing a lake when I see an eagle hover about a hundred feet before coming down on a dead fall from the sky, the mighty shadow appears in the crystal blue water just as the talons drop into the water pulling up a squirming fish still dripping wet. I have to stop and marvel at this purest of moment of my life. They told me I was crazy for coming up here or running away as they put it. I’m not running away, I’m finding my Alaska.

    You could work things out with her, they said. You could manage, but I am sick of always managing, because here it gets real, here you can do more than manage. Get a job on the Slope. Up there on the Beaufort Sea, on top of the world. They still hunt seal and whale just like they used to for over three hundred years.

    Watson Lake where years ago some folks passing through nailed their license plates to a post and now there are over four hundred license plates posted on bunch of posts in front of the lake. It’s a tourist attraction without any tourists. Most of the people I see are walking, most of them have brown faces. I just keep driving through. I should be there by morning. Somewhere around Chicken on the Parks Highway, a two-lane road that goes through Beaver Creek before crossing the border into the biggest state of all fifty with the fewest citizens with the exception of Wyoming, the only state bordering a foreign country and none of the other forty nine states.

    Shadows are tricky out there where no other vehicles are in sight on the flat uneventful horizon. I did it what I said I was going to do, because I was left with little choice. I came here like they did in 1898 when they found placer gold in the Yukon River. When free-spirited men came up here to stake their claim, to look for their fortune, crossing the inhospitable country to find that gold. Up here where a man can still be his own person, away from the rat race that consumes us all a little piece at a time. Well, I’m done with that.

    Coming to the border, I see a man in a uniform with an American flag on his right sleeve wearing a Smokey Bear Hat and I showed him my California driver’s license. With a smile and a wave of his arm, I enter the Last Frontier, sold by Peter the Great to Secretary of State William Seward two years after Lincoln’s assassination on the night he himself was stabbed by a would be assassin. Peter the Great needed the money to help prepare for war with his jealous neighbors after his fur trapper countrymen saw their prophets dwindle until the effort was no longer worth the trouble.

    The highway follows the Tanana River into Tok before twisting toward Fairbanks and then onto the Parks Highway that runs through the Matanuska Valley, across the inlet and into Anchorage. Miles and miles of open spaces yet to be traveled. I do not want to stop, because I am in the forty ninth state headed south past wilderness that has remained undeveloped, untouched, virgin land where the frost lingers a mere sixteen inches beneath the soil, where falling leaves remain undefiled, because bacteria that usually returns dead leaves into useful nitrogen does not survive this far north.

    I have no idea where I am when I pull off to the side of the road as not every place has a name. I have traveled over a thousand miles through some of the most remote, desolate land on the planet, past untouched beauty where humans are just considered an invasive trespasser in this unspoiled landscape. There is a tinge of chill in the air as the sun continues to hover timelessly on the brilliant orange horizon and I know that soon the fire-weed will go to seed, the berries will become quite fragrant, the sun will soon dip below that constant horizon, and the gnarled birch trees add a distinctive presence to this silent backdrop that I now call my Alaska.

  2. Didn’t get there today. Had an idea that I thought would be really good but had too many interruptions to get more than a couple paragraphs on the page. Now I’m too tired to write anything. I’ll see how things go tomorrow.

    1. It happens. Hope you get back to it before the world gets its claws into you for good! Keep fighting for your right to write!

  3. September flash fiction.
    I’ve written 1000 words about a young man caught up in the Great Depression of Alabama in 1935. He has lost the love of his life and has to move away to find work. He finds a woman who is caring, whom he respects and can build a life with but he never gets over his lost love. Poignant and heart wrenching…….I hope!!!!

  4. Didn’t write a story yesterday–finally got motivated to do a thing or two on my long-neglected novel in progress. Does that count for making my own rules?? But today I took an idea from an old death certificate I stumbled on a while back. It was for someone with no name except “Walking John”, and apparently that’s what he did until he was found dead outside of my hometown. I’m guessing the county buried him in the part of our city cemetery reserved for those who have no other resources. No name, no age, no information of any sort. He’s always haunted me. So I sent off this “Walking John” with a little more ceremony–the volunteer services of a Catholic priest who wouldn’t let anyone be buried alone without a few kind words and a prayer. It’s told from the POV of a newspaper reporter who grew up catching occasional glimpses of this lone soul as did he parents when they were children. Came in at 1004 words including the title, “They Called Him ‘Walking John'” And, no, tempting as it was to have the reporter find out who the man really was, where he came from, and why he set himself apart from society, it didn’t happen. Sometimes the people who touch our hearts most deeply take their secrets to the grave.

    1. That’sone of the things i love about short stories: they afford us the space to do just that…leave the reader wondering.

  5. I’d never heard of ‘Flash Fiction’ until this challenge. I’ve attempted to write a story about an old man called Alfred. I’ve written about 500 words so far, I will finish it off tomorrow. I’ve really enjoyed writing in this short, sharp style. Although I’m not sure if I’ve done it right!

  6. I hadn’t written flash fiction before, I fact I had never even understood what it meant! I really enjoyed creating the back story in my head and choosing the moment to dive in and start my flash fiction challenge.
    I’m really pleased with the result and it’s nearly there! It’s 1152 words but after tidying it up and giving it a polish, I think it will be a passable piece of writing!
    This group is really giving me focus and so far I feel I’m doing surprisingly ok 👌!

    1. Oh, I’m so pleased to hear that. It sounds like you are really taking on this challenge and making it work for you!

    1. How did it feel, to write so tightly? Did you like it? Or are you glad that’s over with? 😉
      Sometimes its useful to try these things just to find out what we don’t like to write…

  7. I didn’t write yesterday. But today my flash fiction really went well. And I tried out a genre that I’ve never written – mystery. I set it in a church and I created 2 characters that I think I could really flesh out more. It was fun.

    Also, I’m loving reading all the different stories that are posted.

    1. That sounds great!

      And I’m so glad people are posting and reading stories. For some people that’s really motivating (and not for others, which is why I leave it up to you!)

  8. This was a bit of a struggle, and it may want some editing when I’ve slept on it. But for what it’s worth, here’s my flash for today.

    Arctic Elegy

    19 December 2015, 10 am
    After the storm of the century, we ventured out exhilarated by the power of nature. In the next row of houses, snowdrifts reached the second floor and children sledded gleefully from their bedroom windows, their headlamp beams chasing shadows from the whiteness. Cheery adults exchanged storm anecdotes and tunneled through drifts to liberate neighbors trapped indoors. The dark polar night teemed with activity, with lives lifted out of the ordinary.
    10:23 am Facebook message: “Avalanche in the center of town. Homes are damaged. Come help if you can. Bring a shovel.”
    11 am news flash: “One person has been confirmed dead and several others are injured after an avalanche swept away several homes in Longyearbyen. The victim is a 42-year-old man.”
    Polar night transformed from merely dark to utterly black. Total absence of light.
    What they said was true but made no sense. The victim was not a 42-year-old man. It was Aaron. He was Aaron.

    May 2019
    The debris of the houses is gone now, meticulously cleared away after the light returned in spring 2016. The houses smashed by the avalanche in February 2017 are also gone. All remaining houses in the avalanche zone will be dismantled later this year.
    Five sturdy snow fences have appeared on the slope above town. Guardian eyesores. They’ve receded into familiarity in the landscape. But when sunlight angles through them we see them afresh and know we are diminished.
    The condemned houses face north-northwest into the stark midnight sun. Curtainless windows reveal naked walls in empty rooms. Eternal summer light. Total absence.

  9. This is a bit of my piece for yesterday, tried my pen at scifi which i’ve never done but had alot of fun with

    In a corner of the apartment, an old oaken table held space. thelia had claimed it as her own when her grandmother had passed. Her hands glided across it feeling grandma c’s power reaching out to her. In the center, a wooden box beckoned to Thelia. She stared at it while fingering the key suspended from a silver chain around her neck. She pondered not opening the box. Yet she’d been given the gift all the same, it didn’t really mater. She was the seventh grandaughter of the seventh daughter. It was her birthright and hers alone. She got up and walked to the window, her siamese Minx trailing behind her. He jumped up onto the window perch and they both watched as purple sunlight bathed the people below in a blue haze. People scurried to get home to their apartments. There were no houses, the places her grandmother had spoken of when she regaled thelia with tales of long ago. That had been another directive of the world council, people ordered to live in apartments. thelia sighed , where would she start?

  10. OK Today’s is not ‘Flash’. It is less than 1,000 words and is a bit of a ‘biography’ of the characters in the banner of my blog. i.e. where did they come from, links to some back stories and the idea that I may write about them as a ‘Party’ sometime into the future. http://afstoryaday.blogspot.com/2019/05/day-7-introductions.html

    NOTE – for those new to Story-a-day, and those who are not, a good number of the back stories started in this event.

    Also, there’s a link to a story never published to the web before ‘the case of the missing tooth’

    1. Andrew, that comment about many of the back stories starting in this event is so encouraging. By the end of the month I hope to have a little supply of story seedlings.

  11. I wrote a thriller called ‘The drive’. It was around 940 words. I changed my storyline so many times though. It had started as a serendipitous conversation between two strangers and ended as a thriller .. haha..

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